Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Robin Hood of Self Esteem

It ain't exactly stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but lately I've been standing up to the bullies for the novice players at my tables. And I gotta say I get such a rush from it.

The latest episode: I was playing at Red Rocks yesterday afternoon with 3 players who had never played before. The other 5 players at the table were regulars. It was clear who was taking money from who.

However one of the regulars was an obnoxious woman who kept criticizing other people's play. Even after they said they were new to the game. I found her behavior to be so gross. Not only was she killing the action, she was being a mean person.

Because of my low profile at the table it was inevitable that I would become a target. The most entertaining part for me was that I actually did nothing wrong. I played correct poker. But she thought I was a beginner and that she could bully me. She started with the wrong person.

Our villain was sitting directly to my left. On the particular hand in question, she straddled on my big blind. There were 3 callers in between us and when the action got around to me I was excited to see pocket queens.

Now my old conservative move is to just call here in hopes of trapping someone to win a larger pot. Maybe she'll raise behind me. Maybe no overcards come on the flop.

Yet the more reasonable play here is to raise. Assuming I have the best hand I will either get more money in the middle while I am ahead, or else thin the field. It's win win. And I obviously have a hand that's worth raising. I'm not making a move.

But I mention all this because after I raised the straddle, this woman goes beserk. As if my raise is unheard of. She tells me how bad I play.

Huh? How? What?

For raising her straddle? I didn't suck out on her. Raises are what happens at poker. I've never seen ANYONE called dumb before for raising preflop. Especially when you can't see their cards.

It's so absurd that at first I think she must be kidding. My initial comment to her was a somewhat flirtatious "Someone wanted to see the flop huh?"

But she's not kidding. She actually calls me stupid for winning such a small pot.

"You raise and everyone folds." She says. As if I should be disappointed.

I tell her that I'm happy with the money I just won.

It will mean I can go to Starbucks and be able to afford a Frappucino I tell her.

Again she digs into me. She's really trying to embarrass me.

Now if this was my first time at the poker table I'd probably be sitting there feeling real insecure. She has no idea she's sitting next to someone who does this every day. I know when I play poorly. It happens all the time. But it didn't happen on this hand. So for this woman to have the nerve to attack me was in this spot was comedy gold.

I go the other way it and reinforce everything she's saying.

Our secret formula?

1-She tells me how dumb I am.

2-I say how I'm new to the game and obviously can't play at her advanced level.

Repeat steps 1 and 2.

And as an improviser, I gotta say that I'm giving her great stuff to work with.

"I was never smart at school. I guess it just makes sense I wouldn't be smart at poker."

Or my personal favorite:

"Maybe someday, not definitely, but maybe someday with alot of practice, I can learn to behave just like you do at the poker table."

Some of the old guys who play there everyday are loving it. They get it. And I can see the beginners show a sigh of relief that this woman's anger is now directed at me.

We are Las Vegas' new comedy team.

The whole experience was awkward enough for our dealer to actually tell her to stop criticizing me.

But I wouldn't let it go. I kept egging it on.

And for the next hour I couldn't lose a pot against this woman.

It was awesome. She'd fold whenever I'd reraise her because she didn't want to lose a pot to me. And anytime I actually hit a hand I'd just check and let her bluff to beat me. And then look on in pure joy at her disgust with my slow play.

"How could you not bet your top pair?" she asked after one of the hands.

"I thought for sure you had me beat. I was scared to raise you because you're such a good player."

My poker game might be B+, but my passive aggressive game is A+ all the way.

She eventually asked for a seat change. Good.

Lets send her and her bad attitude to another table.

So that I can play with all the novices in peace.

And try to take their money.

While always treating them with genuine respect and kindness.


dave said...

I worry you are turning into me at the poker table.

Then again, I just can't help myself defending anyone. Whether they know what they are doing or not, or whether they are correct or not.

I just like to play tweak the tweaker.

Check Raise Chin said...

Hey Rob,

Funny post. Just curious...if she's a regular and you're at least a semi-regular wouldnt' she recognize you?

If I remember correctly you mentioned this lady in an earlier post also.

I think she's just a nasty person and good for you to take her down a notch.

Good going bro.

Robert said...

I'm not a regular at Red Rocks. I hadn't played with her before.

PJS JR. said...

Great post, I would love to hear about some of the hands you guys played together.

I love taking money off players like that. It makes it feel that much sweeter.